June Rodriguez
JUNE: I noticed this week that I need to flesh out my characters a little more. When I work on other aspects of my writing such as the action or the dialogue my characters don’t receive as much attention. I recently bought a book from a workshop at my RWA group. The author was our presenter. I hope to gain new insights to the complicated process of building my characters by reading “Growing Great Characters from the Ground Up” by Martha Engber.

SARAH: I enjoyed listening to Martha's talk as well. She presented tons of insight on "Show vs. Tell", too. I wished she would have spent some time telling us about her views on building characters. I hope you'll share the juicy tidbits with us, June. There is another book I'd liked to get called, THE WIP NOTEBOOK by Jeannie Ruesch. It looks fantastic and I've heard nothing but great reviews from peers. Ms. Ruesch's WIP Notebook provides worksheets and tables for diving into your characters and plotlines. Sounds like a great Wish List item for the ole Hubby Man!

DORI: There are two different types of books, plot driven and character driven. In the suspense/thriller books are more frequently plot driven. Think Da Vinci Code and other similar books. When the book is plot driven you don't have to delve too deep into character, but when you have a character driven book it is imperative that you know your character inside and out, and that your readers learn to know your character from an intimate perspective. I think that most women readers enjoy a character driven book, which can go hand in hand with a plot driven book. They don't have to be mutually exclusive.

JUNE: To become better writers it has been suggested to read, read, read lots of books in the genre you wish to write in. I have also heard that a good way to dissect a story is to watch movies. With the holiday season upon us a lot of us will be watching movies during our free time. This year I will take that advice when I find myself sitting in a movie theater or watching that Christmas gift.

SARAH: I've become addicted to books on CD. I've been borrowing them from the lending library. I don't think I would have picked these books up at a store, simply because they aren't my preferred genre. Yet, I've been enjoying reading the different styles and voices. Most have been mystery novels with heavy crime and suspense. My only complaint is that the authors use the "F" word a lot and they haven't been all male authors either!! Sheesh! Talk about eye-opening.

I've also been doing a lot of reading in the YA and Romantic Suspense genres. It's been fun seeing how the authors create their worlds and characters. Plus, I'm seeing a pattern in how they format their paragraphs. Who knew research could be this fun!

DORI: Wish there were more time in the day to read. I definitely learn a lot by reading as many different types of books in my genre as possible. Interesting how now I can read both for pleasure and learning. I pay attention to how a writer writes, what works, what doesn't work. Invaluable research.

JUNE: Do you read your writing out loud? I don’t do it very often myself but I do like to listen to your writing out loud. I can sometimes hear when there is a problem with flow or word usage that way.

SARAH: I try to read my stuff out loud, but still find I miss things. I think my mind adds the words in. I know we've talked about this before, but it's one the many reasons why critique groups such as ours are essential! Nobody wants to present a less than polished MS to an agent or an editor. Worse yet would be having a reader spot the mistake within your novel. YIKES! Sure that's what an editor and copy-editor are for, but we're all human after all. Any precaution taken toward finding the rough spots, missing words or slip-ups in context is definitely worth the effort.

DORI: I don't read my stuff aloud, but need to try to do that. Know it would help, but my writing space is in the middle of the open space in the house and not conducive to reading aloud. Excuses, excuses, I know.
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